Asian Cartagena Coffee – Explanation and Preparation

Asian coffee from Cartagena is called that, but it is not Asian, but of Spanish origin. It’s a completely different way of making coffee. This coffee comes from the municipality of Cartagena, in the Murcia region, where this peculiar coffee was born and is served.

Where does the Asian coffee from Cartagena come from?

Asian coffee is a symbolic product of the municipality of Cartagena, so much so that one of the typical breakfasts in this area consists of Asian coffee, toasted bread and ham.

There are two completely different stories about the origin of Asian coffee:    

  • One says that the origin of this particular preparation lies in the bars of the port area of Calle Mayor, since the Asian traders who arrived there asked for coffee with condensed milk and brandy, which is why it is also called Asian coffee.
  • The second story says that the drink was invented by Spaniard Pedro Conesa Ortega at his restaurant, Bar Pedrín in Cartagena. According to this legend, Asian coffee seems to have originated from the now-obsolete coffee pot, which had the typical bitter taste of ground coffee, so his wife suggested adding condensed milk and liquors to mask the bitter taste.

Its origin is still debated. But it’s definitely worth trying because it’s a perfect coffee and we’ll show you how to make it.

What is Cartagena’s Asian coffee?

Among the many types of coffee, Asian coffee is the undisputed star.

It is a typical coffee from the Cartagena area and the Murcia region, with a light alcoholic note and hints of cinnamon, served exclusively in a characteristic cup in which it is served hot.

As an anecdote, the original name was Russian coffee, but due to the negative political connotation this adjective acquired during the Cold War, the name was changed to the current one.

Preparation of an Asian coffee from Cartagena

The ingredients needed are:

  • Coffee of your choice
  • Condensed milk
  • Cognac
  • Liqueur 43
  • Cinnamon
  • Optional coffee beans and lemon zest

How do you brew Asian coffee?

  • First, prepare a cup of black coffee. Leave room in the cup for the other ingredients. Then fill in the condensed milk so that there is still about two fingers of space.
  • Next, add brandy to taste and some Liqueur 43, sprinkle with a little cinnamon and you’re done. The authentic recipe calls for the brandy to be heated with coffee beans and a slice of lemon zest, but this method has become less popular.

How to drink Asian coffee

As for the way of drinking, there is a preference for mixing all the ingredients, including the zest of the lemon, to get a unique combination with a distinctive taste.

There are also people who sip this concoction through a straw, keeping the ingredients well separated and drinking from the bottom up. It’s all a matter of personal taste.